On May 13, 2022, during her trip to Laos, USAID Deputy Administrator for Policy and Programming Isobel Coleman announced $5.6 million to support the Government of Laos to advance their education and economic growth goals, both of which have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This assistance includes a $2.6 million grant to UNICEF to support the Ministry of Education and Sports’ efforts to fill in gaps that COVID-19 has created in the education sector, such as adapting children’s curricula to both in-person and remote classrooms. This support builds on a decade of USAID development assistance to help children gain literacy, numeracy, and the other skills that will help pave their way for success and help Lao children achieve their dreams. Importantly, this work also promotes equity and inclusion in the process, particularly ensuring children from ethnic groups who do not speak Lao and children with disabilities have access to quality education.
This new funding also includes an additional $3 million USAID grant to the World Bank’s multi-donor fund, in partnership with Australia, Ireland, and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, to improve the business enabling environment and support micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), including women-owned businesses, as they recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19. With more MSMEs participating in Laos’ economy, it will increase the country’s competitiveness with other ASEAN countries, foster private sector investment, and help create opportunities for increased and sustainable wages for the next generation of Lao people.
USAID partners with Laos to empower its youth, improve health and education outcomes, advance inclusive development, and strengthen the rule of law across Laos – all of which helps build Laos’ resilience and prosperity. USAID supports Laos as they grow to be economically competitive with other ASEAN countries.